Immigration & Visas, Living

Mexico’s New Immigration Law – October Update

Mexico Immigration Stamp

Updated Oct 17, 2012

More details have emerged about the changes that will come into effect with the new immigration law that was, after some delay, passed into law on September 28, 2012 and which must be implemented within 30 working days thereafter (we are expecting this to happen sometime in the second week of November). The country’s immigration institute, the INM, has not yet published the detailed administrative procedures that are of particular interest to expats and those planning to live or retire in Mexico.  These are expected soon and we will publish an update when they are released.

As soon as the new rules are formally adopted by the INM, we will update our information and the new edition of the Mexico Immigration Guide will be published by our associates which will contain detailed information about the changes. Foreigners with a current FM2 or FM3 may continue to use their current visa until its expiration, at which time they will have to renew under the rules of one of the new visa categories.

Note about Temporary Leisure Visits: If you are visiting Mexico for a vacation or for non-lucrative short stays, the changes being brought in by the new immigration law will have no material effect on you at all.

Here is a brief summary of what is known now about the new visa categories:

Visitor Permit (Non Lucrative): The visitor will need to demonstrate one of a number of circumstances, related to things such as economic solvency (to sustain themselves while in Mexico) or have some other family, professional or investment-related interests in Mexico.

Visitor Visa (Lucrative): This visa will be provided to visitors who wish to engage in lucrative activities in Mexico for a period not exceeding 180 days; certain business-related criteria must be met.

Temporary Resident Visa: This visa will be for people who wish to reside in Mexico for longer than 6 months and not more than 4 years. To qualify, applicants will need to demonstrate that they have e.g. sufficient economic resources to support themselves, or be invited to Mexico by an organization for non-remunerative activities, or have  specific kinds of family connections in Mexico, or have business or investment interests in Mexico.

Permanent Resident Visa: This visa will be for people who wish to reside indefinitely in Mexico. To qualify, applicants must have specific family connections in Mexico, or be of retirement status (with sufficient proven income to sustain themselves in Mexico, expressed as a multiple of Mexico’s official minimum wage), or be granted political asylum in Mexico, or meet the categories and minimum score under a new Points System (see below).

Visa For Adoption: A visa is being introduced to facilitate foreigners who are in the process (or linked to the process) of adopting a Mexican child.

Visa For Students: A visa for students intending to remain in Mexico for courses, studies, research projects, or training in educational institutions for more than 6 months.

Points System: A new points system is being introduced to qualify foreigners seeking residency in Mexico. The principal criteria may include (but are not limited to): education level, work experience in areas of high demand and low supply, work experience in other areas, investment in Mexico, skills in science and technology, acknowledgements and international awards, Spanish language proficiency, knowledge of Mexican culture.

As soon as the new administrative procedures are published by the INM, a fully-revised edition of the Guide to Mexico Immigration will be released that will take into account the changes being ushered-in by the new law and describe the new visas (and procedures and fees) in detail.

* Update – The new immigration law came into force in November 2012. More details.


Mexico in your inbox

Our free newsletter about Mexico brings you a monthly round-up of recently published stories and opportunities, as well as gems from our archives.


  1. Frederick Jackson says

    Joe, If you are out of the country when your visa expires, I believe you will have 30 days after your return to renew it. But be sure to have your proof of travel. At least this was the case for me when I was in the process of going from fm3 to fm2.

  2. Shawna says

    My husband is going to be deported in two years. I am planning on moving to Mexico to live with him. I plan on crossing the border a few times a week for work. Is this possible? What kind of visa will I need to live there and work here? I’ve been trying to find out everything that I can on the process of relocating. We want to live in Rosarito. I was told that if I live in a border town and cross the border at least once every 6 months that I won’t need a visa. Is this true? Thank you.

  3. Michael says

    How will this affect a Canadian travelling down for temporary business? (going for 10 days, being paid by a Canadian company)

  4. anne harris says

    how will the changes affect having a car with US plates in Mexico?

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Anne, if the car plate laws don’t change, then it’s likely that foreigners on Temporary Resident visas will be able to hold foreign plated cars and those on permanent residency visas will need to “nationalize” their cars or take them back out of Mexico.

  5. Pat Harris says

    Wondering if I can apply for the permanent resident VISA now, and if I can apply in the US or if I have to be in Mexico first.

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Pat, until the new rules are adopted into code, all applications are being processed under the current (soon to be old) rules.

  6. Joe says

    I currently hold an FM2, the newer one, and plan to return to the US. my card will be up for renewal June 2013, which I need to return in May 2013 in order to renew. my question is, if I choose to remain in the US beyond my renewal date, will this have any effect renewing my card once I decide to return to Mexico..? the law reads I can not be gone longer then two yrs or five yrs within a ten yr period…but it does not state if this period is consecutive. I’m reading it as if I can only be out of Mexico six months a yr within a five yr period…help

Comments are closed.